Tuesday, January 5, 2016

WCW's Fingerpoke of Doom

January 4, 2016 was the 17th anniversary of the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom.  This of course being one of the defining moments in WCW history.  I intended to dig up my old entry on this disaster and came to find out that I may have not ever done a full post for it here.  That shocks me, but it also allows me to start fresh so let's take a look back at quite possibly the worst booking decision in wrestling history. 

This one strikes so close to home with me specifically because I was there.  I was in the Georgia Dome for Goldberg's WCW Title victory over Hollywood Hogan and then I was there for...this.  I had a great time at the show that night despite the storyline where Goldberg was being accused of the "aggravated stalking" of Miss Elizabeth.  Being in the arena that night I always thought they were pretty clearly claiming that he had raped her which is beyond disgusting, but in looking back at this I see that the quote above is how it was handled.  Either way, that wasn't a great development for a show that was allegedly going to give us a Goldberg/Nash rematch for Big Gold.  Nash ends up offering the title shot to Hollywood Hogan which wasn't a bad consolation prize honestly.  You had Nash who was pretty popular representing the nWo Wolfpac facing off with Hollywood Hogan who was pretty well despised and the loss of the Goldberg match wasn't as big a deal.

The arena was electric for the big main event and all.  Hall reuniting with Nash during the entrance should have tipped us off that something was up considering Hall's nWo Hollywood affiliation and Nash claiming that Hall's Starrcade interference wasn't approved by him.  At the time I don't recall thinking much of it.  I, personally, just wanted to see Nash destroy Hollywood Hogan.  Then it happened.  Hogan touches Nash, Nash goes down in a heap (looking back that sell job was hilarious) and we realized the nWo had been reunited.  At that time seeing Hogan with Big Gold was the absolute last thing I had any interest in.  In that moment I recall being completely disgusted with the whole deal and that feeling has never really faded.  I don't care how Hogan, Nash, Bischoff, etc. want to paint it.  That was the wrong decision and for this WCW fan it was confirmation that the good times were over.  It was one of those "they can't get out of their own way" moments.  Here you've possibly killed the golden goose by taking the belt off Goldberg and ending his streak anyway.  Then instead of properly paying off the Wolfpac v Hollywood feud, you've made everyone look like morons again.  Besides that you basically bait and switched your home town twice in one night and gave them THAT as their main event. 

It was bad...it was inexcusably bad.  Sure Goldberg rushed in to a hero's welcome and all that, but it really didn't matter.  The crowd and the town had been burned.  As shared on Wikipedia, RD Reynolds of WrestleCrap probably said it best when he said the following:
That was that. Fans had been burned one time too many by WCW and the nWo.
In the end, I think that was pretty clearly the case.  Continuing to prop up the tired Hollywood Hogan reign of terror, trying to continue the nWo long after that thing had a) run its course and b) been paid off poorly at Starrcade '97, and taking the strap off Goldberg for that garbage were all garbage ideas executed by a company that had just screwed with their audience long enough.

It really was remarkable as I had been in that same arena and seen one of the most electric atmosphere's ever.  The difference between Goldberg's win and the FPOD were night and day.  No one single thing killed WCW, but I do not believe you can overstate how damaging this particular booking decision was.